establish an effective it steering committee

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IT steering committees are a best practice approach for aligning strategic business and IT priorities. Understand when the time is right to establish an IT steering committee and how to get this group started on the right track.

This solution will help you:

•Build the case for IT steering.
•Focus your IT steering objectives. Get your steering committee on track.
IT leaders must ensure that the IT steering committee has a formal mandate with clear objectives, strong executive participation, and a commitment to meeting regularly.

Published in: Technology, Business

establish an effective it steering committee

  1. 1. Establish an Effective IT Steering Committee Info-Tech Research Group
  2. 2. <ul><li>Many organizations contemplate forming an IT Steering Committee to better align IT investments with business priorities, but most don’t know where to start. </li></ul><ul><li>Forming an IT Steering Committee can greatly benefit IT governance. But without clear objectives and strong executive participation, new committees risk being ineffective and short lived. </li></ul><ul><li>This solution set will help you: </li></ul>Introduction Info-Tech Research Group
  3. 3. Executive Summary <ul><li>IT Steering Committees are a best practice approach for aligning strategic business and IT priorities. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear mandates and a real ability to influence decision making through executive participation increase the value of IT Steering Committees. </li></ul><ul><li>Successful IT Steering Committees focus on three main tasks: IT strategic planning, project prioritization and project approval. Other activities, such as resource allocation, are best left to other teams. </li></ul><ul><li>IT leaders can get started on the right track by gaining executive buy-in and taking on a facilitative role on the IT Steering Committee. </li></ul>Info-Tech Research Group
  4. 4. Info-Tech Research Group Build the Case for IT Steering Focus Your IT Steering Objectives Get Your Steering Committee On Track
  5. 5. IT Steering Committees are a commonly used approach for aligning strategic business and IT priorities Info-Tech Research Group IT Steering Committees are used by 62% of organizations to ensure that IT priorities align with business strategy. You do not need to be a large company to have one. Source: Client Survey, Info-Tech Research Group, February 2010
  6. 6. Need for shared decision making and group business consensus on strategic investments drives IT Steering Committees A lot of business executives who are not IT-savvy will toss the problem over to the IT side even though most IT projects are really business projects. Instead, the executives need to engage IT through a governance model, whether it’s an IT steering committee or an IT governance board. You need the executives to jointly drive what they need from IT so that they can do the give and take that is necessary when there isn’t enough money to get everything done. - CIO, IT Services Info-Tech Research Group Top Three Activities of IT Steering Committees “ ” Organizations leverage IT Steering Committees as a forum to gain consensus between business leaders and their participation in major IT decisions. IT Project Prioritization Approval of IT Projects IT Strategic Planning 1 2 3
  7. 7. IT Steering Committees are most effective when there is an existing culture of communications between business units Info-Tech Research Group Use the “ IT Steering Committee Challenge Assessment Tool ” to get a clear picture of the Leadership, Business and IT factors that determine readiness. Leadership Business IT <ul><li>IT Steering Committees often struggle to find their role in environments without an existing shared decision making dynamic (e.g. an “autocratic” CEO). </li></ul><ul><li>New IT Steering Committees are more effective when there is already a business culture of sharing and communicating objectives across departments. </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations that already have formal accountabilities for most IT governance tasks (e.g. project requests, budget review), are in a better position to succeed. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Info-Tech Research Group Build the Case for IT Steering Focus Your IT Steering Objectives Get Your Steering Committee On Track
  9. 9. Use the IT Steering Committee to find the balance between IT constraints and business priorities We tried a bunch of ways to drag in our business stakeholders, in order to communicate what we were working on and why they can’t have resources. Not having everyone at the table at one time was our problem. Even though we have set priorities together, we still have the same amount of work when it comes to communicating to stakeholders why we don’t have IT resources – but now it’s not just me and my decision, it’s what we all agreed on. - CIO, Professional Services Info-Tech Research Group “ ” New and existing IT leaders should refer to the note, “ New IT Leaders: Engage an IT Steering Committee ,” to learn from experiences of peers that have formed these groups. Info-Tech Research Article:
  10. 10. Don’t expect the IT Steering Committee to do IT’s job – bring appropriate focus to IT strategy and investment decisions IT Steering Committees play an important role in IT governance. But understand that effectively setting and managing scope is critical to success. Is the IT Steering Committee effective in this task? 91% Agree 86% Agree 95% Agree Info-Tech Research Group Over 77% of IT Steering Committees focus on three of these tasks or fewer. Source: Client Survey, Info-Tech Research Group, February 2010
  11. 11. Plan for the IT Steering Committee to mature with time to take on more IT operational oversight The biggest issue that I have had is keeping it at a high enough level to keep people interested. I have a tendency to get down into the technical details more than I should. Everyone wants to participate, but their interest starts to wane if we get into too much detail, because they’re executives. We’re trying to explain it all to them, but sometimes they don’t need that – they just want to keep moving forward . - Director of IT, Construction Info-Tech Research Group Understand that stakeholders may lack a deeper understanding of IT challenges and will likely not be prepared to tackle operational issues in the first year. “ ” n = 105 Source: Client Survey, Info-Tech Research Group, February 2010
  12. 12. Tasking the IT Steering Committee with IT resource allocation responsibilities will not deliver organizational benefits Info-Tech Research Group Managing IT resource allocation and demand is a challenge for most organizations – but a cross-functional IT Steering Committee is not the right body to address this. Organizations find this even less effective than leaving this task to IT Management. Be practical when involving the IT Steering Committee in IT management issues. Focus on making the best use of its cross-functional IT and business membership. n = 105 Source: Client Survey, Info-Tech Research Group, February 2010
  13. 13. Info-Tech Research Group Build the Case for IT Steering Focus Your IT Steering Objectives Get Your Steering Committee On Track
  14. 14. Empower and mobilize the new IT Steering Committee with a clearly defined mandate <ul><li>Formalize the role of the group using the Info-Tech “ IT Steering Committee Charter ” template. </li></ul><ul><li>This template outlines the key tasks and responsibilities for the committee: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing strategic leadership for IT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritizing IT investment initiatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensuring open communications between IT and other functional units </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use this template to draft an IT Steering Committee Charter and keep this oversight group on track. </li></ul>Info-Tech Research Group Where there is not a clearly defined mandate for the IT Steering Committee, only 29% of respondents rate the group as effective overall - versus 77% if this exists.
  15. 15. Keep the IT Steering Committee small, but ensure membership includes executive decision-making authority Info-Tech Research Group Gaining senior executive buy-in and participation will help the IT Steering Committee serve as more than a costly-to-assemble information resource. Where formal CEO/President-level participation is missing, over half (51%) of respondents believe that the IT Steering Committee lacks the necessary authority to make final IT decisions. Includes Legal as well as industry-specific groups such as Clinical (Healthcare), Superintendent (Education), Councilor (Government). n = 106 Source: Client Survey, Info-Tech Research Group, February 2010
  16. 16. Take a central role on the IT Steering Committee and serve in the role of primary facilitator Info-Tech Research Group The IT manager should be the hero facilitator, rather than the person who took the burden upon themselves to make decisions on behalf of the organization. I’ve seen IT managers who see themselves in the hero role. Pretty soon, at least half the executive suite feels ignored and, more likely, downright unhappy that this decision was made without their input. – IT Consultant, Professional Services Both IT leaders and non-IT executives can serve effectively in the role of chairperson. In either scenario, IT must position itself as a facilitator, not advocate. IT Steering Committees with the IT leader serving as chairperson only rate themselves 9% higher in terms of meeting productivity and 10% higher in terms of overall effectiveness. “ ” Source: Client Survey, Info-Tech Research Group, February 2010 n = 106
  17. 17. Meet on a monthly basis to keep IT Steering Committee members informed and engaged <ul><li>Organizations that only assemble the IT Steering Committee on a quarterly or bi-annual basis tend to experience: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lesser overall involvement from non-IT stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased difficulties in reaching consensus on investment priorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater dependence on IT to develop the IT strategic plan </li></ul></ul>Info-Tech Research Group The majority of IT Steering Committees meet monthly or more frequently. Greater business participation in IT decisions begins with making this a priority meeting. n = 105 Source: Client Survey, Info-Tech Research Group, February 2010
  18. 18. Conclusions <ul><li>IT Steering Committees help drive better IT/business alignment and particularly benefit IT governance in the areas of strategic planning and project prioritization and approval. </li></ul><ul><li>IT leaders must ensure that the IT Steering Committee has a formal mandate with clear objectives, strong executive participation, and a commitment to meeting regularly. </li></ul>Info-Tech Research Group
  19. 19. Appendix Info-Tech Research Group Task Resources Build the case for IT steering “ IT Steering Committee Challenge Assessment Tool ” Focus your IT steering objectives “ New IT Leaders: Engage an IT Steering Committee ” Get your steering committee on track “ IT Steering Charter ” “ IT Steering Committee Meeting Agenda ”

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